I have witnessed more pain in the past week than I care to remember. There has been physical pain as I have watched Jack Cerreta struggle for his life and to recover his mental faculties after his car wreck this past week. There has been major emotional pain. His parents Jack and Michele and his sister Casey have been through hell this week.
The update on Jack is that he is out of ICU and is progressing. It is going to be a long and difficult process at times. Please continue to pray for Jack and his family. You can check back here for details.
Yesterday at LifeQuest was a great day. We had a great time worshipping God through music and fellowship. We saw new faces and the message seemed to connect with people on a personal and practical level. In the midst of joy and celebration there was still pain. As I reflected back on yesterday the picture of pain is the one that lingers in my mind.
When you speak in front of people regularly, you begin to see signs of what you are communicating through the eyes of the people listening. Some connect and give non-verbal indicators that they are engaged. They nod their head, they take notes or they simply get a look that tells you they are processing information. These are all positives for a speaker.
Yesterday, as I watched those listening to the message I saw pain. The face of one particular person keeps popping into my mind. Wrapped with hurt, anxious, doubting, wondering why they were there was what their body language gave off. It was tension, depression, and hurt all rolled into one. My heart broke as I tried to imagine what could cause so much pain.
Maybe that was you. Maybe it was the person next to you. I am not going to reveal who it was or put any pressure on anyone, but I have a very personal and direct message for that person:
You are not alone. God loves you. God cares. And we are here to help.
No one likes pain. It is not the emotion we seek. It is our desire to live our life free from pain. The reality is pain is a part of life. We can’t know life itself without pain. The very act of coming into this world is painful. We learn valuable life lessons through pain. We all learned not to touch the hot stove because of the sensation it gave our hands.
But physical pain is often easier to deal with than emotional, spiritual or mental pain. Often we are afraid to admit we are hurting. But God already knows. Often we are afraid to seek help. But God has already provided someone to help us in his church. Often we feel hopeless. But God is the God of hope.
I don’t like pain. I especially don’t like seeing others in pain. So, if you think I am talking about you, call and talk to me. If you feel any of the emotions I have described, I am here to help. If you think that you are all alone, God has promised to never leave you or forsake you.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Jesus speaking in Matthew 11:28-30 in The Message